Time to be fat and fabulous: Let’s say no to gay bullying?

 

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It’s a balmy night in 2014.

I am at an LGBT party in the suburbs with a drink in my hand and grinding couples on the side. I feel a tap on my shoulder. It’s Daniel, an American expat who moved to the city almost a decade ago. I smile.

Our relationship can be summed up by ‘pokes’ and staggering witty banter on Facebook. It’s one of many dalliances I’ve had that die an early death, even before numbers can be exchanged. He squints at my face.

“You look a lot different than in your pictures; have you been drinking a lot?”

I suck in my stomach and my self-respect. Is it that last French fry that I just popped into my mouth? Is it too much alcohol? Is it too less sleep? A heavy bone structure? Just bad genes? Or simply the fact that I have my heart in my throat?

I mumble out a lame excuse and blend myself with the background. Daniel busies himself with a pretty boy by the bar, as I exit out of my guest-starring role in their soon-to-be love story. I can walk back home in shame, but this is 2014, and I don’t have a Fitbit to count the calories I will burn.

If you are a human being who wasn’t born with a set of six packs to flaunt at the beach, you’ve probably witnessed it firsthand — every gay man has either been at the receiving or serving end of body shaming (or sometimes even both) — it’s like Mean Girls but with men. Don’t believe me? Just walk into the next LGBT party.

Or simply log into Grindr.

You’ll hear a storehouse of excuses. He’s too fat. He’s too thin. He’s too skinny. He’s too chubby. He’s too square — the entire concept of the perfect body is almost as fictitious as Donald Trump’s chances of winning the presidential election. (I wrote this before the results were out, sadly). While the glorification of the male body has always been an important part of gay culture, social media is partly to blame. Hiding behind Instagram edits and Snapchat filters, it only becomes easier to project the most perfect versions of ourselves. Plus, you can do this while scoping out the competition and secretly judging everyone who doesn’t look good in a tank top (Side note: I have a love-hate relationship with tank tops. I’d love to wear them, but they hate me.)

As a self-deprecating, but self-loving gay man, I’d be lying if I said I haven’t done the same. Are we trained to put the more gym-toned, ripped men at the top of the pedestal, at the very height of the LGBT food chain (right next to the celebrity A-listers)?

We pump ourselves with protein supplements, count our meals by calories and sync our steps with fitness apps, while laughing at the ones who don’t. Think of it this way: Every time you do, more and more men are pushed back into oversized cardigans and Internet diets. More and more men are pushed into eating salad as an actual meal.

Let’s be honest.

It’s body shaming and we do it to each other and ourselves. It might be in the form of ribald jokes at the gym, hushed whispers at a party or drunken barbs on a date, but it still doesn’t change the fact that these are negative connotations that single-handedly target someone’s image issues.

Fawad, a business mogul, moves between London and Bombay every other month — his hectic life keeps him busy enough to not bother himself with weekly dates, but he still partakes in the occasional drink. Unlike Daniel from 2014, Fawad is a friend. A friend who told me about a date that went disastrously wrong.

“What else would you call a fat person, if you don’t call them fat? Cellulite isn’t sexy,” he scoffed. Clearly, the date in question wasn’t an Abercrombie & Fitch underwear model.

I gently push away the pizza we are sharing. Four hundred calories that’ll never help me find true love. Fawad, with his fitted shirts and angular cheekbones, on the other hand, has it all. Apart from my respect in the given situation.

“I don’t see what the problem is,” he says nonchalantly, sipping on his gin and tonic. But one wouldn’t expect men who wear fitted shirts to understand the problem in the first place.

Body shaming in the gay world is as serious as global warming — think of people’s feelings as the ozone layer. You are depleting them, and you aren’t helping the world by doing so. Want to do your bit to change the world? The next time you even think you might be body shaming a fellow gay man, just make sure you aren’t saying any one of these things:

“I feel so fat. Do I look fat today?”

“You probably shouldn’t be eating that…”

“Those pants don’t look good on you at all. What were you thinking?”

“Did you see the love handles on that one? I swear he had a muffin top…”

“‘You want to get with someone? Why don’t you just lose a little weight?”

“His ass is flatter than a plasma TV.”

“I swear he had boobs.”

“I wish I was as skinny as you, damn. I wish I was anorexic.”

“He gained so much weight after we broke up. I clearly won the relationship.”

“… At least you are not a twink!”

Let’s face it, we come in different shapes and sizes, and it’s unfair to think that we can be all cast from the same mold. Whether you are skinny and thin, big and muscular or a Venti and decaf (that’s just my coffee order), you need to know that everyone is unique in their own way — the first place to start over is your dating profile. What you say out aloud or through those 250 characters can say a lot about you. After all, when you say “No fats, no femmes” on your Grindr profile, you aren’t critiquing the kind of men you wouldn’t want to charm over dinner, you are critiquing yourself.

After all, we don’t need to pack ourselves with protein, boys, we just need to pack ourselves with positivity. And that’s something you can share over a plate of fries.

The Idiot’s Guide to Every Homophobic Question In The World

 

Idiot's guide

Would you like a scoop of double chocolate chip fudge ice cream? Do you think that Ryan Gosling is hot? Want to go shop at Zara’s end-of-season clearance sale? Should we leave behind a trust fund for you? Would you like a promotion? Want an all-expense paid vacation to Greece?

The world is full of silly questions, but there is no question sillier than an ignorant homophobic one. Don’t want to sound even mildly homophobic the next time you are talking to a friend, family member or even foe that belongs to the LGBT community?

Refrain from asking any of these 69 (no puns intended) questions out aloud:

 

  1. ‘Can I set you up with another friend – he’s the only other gay guy I know?’
  2. ‘If I kissed you one time, would I become gay too?’
  3. ‘Does it hurt knowing that you can’t have your own children?’
  4. ‘You must love Sunday brunch, don’t you?’
  5. ‘Will you get AIDS?’
  6. ‘What can two lesbians even do in bed together?’
  7. ‘…But you know I don’t mean it in a homophobic way, right?’
  8. ‘It’s Fashion Week! Shouldn’t you be more dressed up?’
  9. ‘If you were straight, would you have married me?’
  10. ‘Listen! You are gay! Will you come to Girl’s Night with us?’
  11. ‘Boys suck so much! Why can’t you be straight?’
  12. ‘Tell me! Is pink your favourite colour?’
  13. ‘Ryan Gosling is totally your dream man, isn’t he?’
  14. ‘ …how do you not know what a cocksickle is?’
  15. ‘So do you do drugs regularly?’
  16. ‘Okay, who’s your favourite member from One Direction?’
  17. ‘But how can you not know every line from Queer As Folk by heart?’
  18. ‘Dating two people at the same time isn’t a problem, right?’
  19. ‘Oh! What are your dance moves? The jazz hands?’
  20. ‘How have you not seen every episode of Sex And The City?’
  21. ‘Beer? Why are you not ordering the Cosmopolitan?’
  22. ‘Are you the man or the woman in the relationship?’
  23. ‘Yea, but that’s now how we straight people do it, is it?’
  24. ‘Have you ever seen a vagina? Want to see mine?’
  25. ‘Why is there only a Gay Pride Parade?’
  26. ‘How are you having dessert? Shouldn’t you be off sugar?’
  27. ‘As a gay man, aren’t you supposed to hate sports?’
  28. ‘OMG! Why aren’t you the queen of sass?’
  29. ‘Are you sure you can’t pull off sequined trousers?’
  30. ‘What about a sequined jacket?’
  31. ‘…Sequined shoes?’
  32. “Oh God! Now who’ll drive us? YOU?’
  33. ‘You are obviously not good with secrets, are you?’
  34. “You are a gay guy! So what’s the latest gossip? Who are we bitching about?’
  35. ‘You are in a relationship? Shouldn’t you be changing boyfriends every month?’
  36. ‘All the sex, and no worries! Being gay must be so much fun, no?’
  37. ‘Don’t you feel dirty after anal sex?’
  38. ‘ OMG! You are totally like Will, and I am like Karen from Will & Grace, right?’
  39. “Oh come on! You fantasize about married men all the time, don’t you?’
  40. ‘Listen! Will you be my gay best friend?’
  41. ‘Are you a Khloe or a Kim? No, you don’t know what I am talking about?’
  42. “But you are one of us girls now, aren’t you?’
  43. “I am not going to introduce my boyfriend to you. What if you hit on him?’
  44. ‘Oh! It’s a straight person thing, you won’t get it, will you?’
  45. ‘OMG! You’d love to come shopping with me, right?
  46. “Isn’t it great that you don’t have to pay on the date?’
  47. Have you ever cross-dressed? I am sure you have!’
  48. ‘How can you not have seen Wicked on Broadway?’
  49. ‘You’ve not even seen Funny Girl?’
  50. ‘But I can call you a fag, right?’
  51. “I can’t even call you a homo?’
  52. ‘What about queen? No? But you guys call each queen all the time!’
  53. ‘How can you be really sure that you are gay?’
  54. “Will touching my boobs make you straight?’
  55. ‘Are you going to snap your fingers at me, mister?’
  56. ‘But how can you not relate with Stanford from Sex and The City?’
  57. ‘You don’t even relate to Elijah from Girls?’
  58. ‘Definitely Kurt from Glee? No?’
  59. ‘’Have you slept with all the gay boys in the city?’
  60. ‘How are you not promiscuous?’
  61. It’s so great that your parents accepted you, no?’
  62. ‘How do you even know so much about football? Is it because the players are cute?’
  63. ‘Is section #377 even a thing?’
  64. ‘Why are you getting so worked up about Section #377? It doesn’t even recriminalize homosexuality!’
  65. ‘Why are gay people so loud, man?’
  66. ‘How do you know that you are gay if you’ve never been with a woman?’
  67. ‘Why aren’t there any pretty lesbians in this world?’
  68. ‘Do you love Ru Paul’s Drag Race or do you love Ru Paul’s Drag Race?’
  69. ‘How can you not read the Guysexual column?’

 

The Guysexual’s Guide To Being The Boy

 

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Like the It Girl, The Boy is every stereotypical gay man’s wet dream – he’s the main character of every queer romance novel, and is the (secretly gay) gentleman who all the girls fight tooth and manicured nail over on primetime television. Everyone knows The Boy – he’s spoken about at wine soirees, intimate house parties and exclusive bars, or cooed over at Sunday sundowners, gallery openings and garden bistros (invite only). The society wives call him the most eligible bachelor in town, and although their husbands don’t like him, they all play golf together every second Sunday of the month – in short, he’s everything I’ve ever wanted to be.

In my opinion, The Boy is as much of a slice of perfection as he is a figment of imagination – he’s like an alternative, much-nicer version of Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, without being the douchebag in the beginning.

But who is The Boy? Where does he come from (and where does he go)? Do you know The Boy? Could you be the boy?

If you don’t have a clue, here’s a checklist that might help:
Continue reading The Guysexual’s Guide To Being The Boy

A 25 Other Boys Not To Date This Summer

For every right guy that you would want to find, you’d find a hundred wrong ones.

Wrong men are everywhere. They are at the bar, buying you a drink. They are at the bookstore, flipping through the latest Murakami novel, while smiling at you from the corner of their eye. They are even writing these very words that you are reading right now.

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Or maybe the wrong guy is doing one of these things, and you haven’t even realized it. So next time you think you are falling head-over-moccasin-heels with a potential Prince Charming, just be sure that you never, ever date someone who…

  1. Doesn’t shop at clearance sales.

Because I love spending multiple hours rummaging through stockpiles of clothes at reduced prices, just like I love spending multiple hours rummaging through my date’s deepest, darkest secrets.

  1. Calls himself a sapiosexual.

But then goes ahead and asks you for a picture of your junk the very next moment.

  1. Doesn’t like chicken biryani.

Because like they all say, do we really need that kind of negativity in our lives?

  1. Orders you your food on the first date without your permission.

Well if I want to eat two portions of fries with my double loaded beef burger, I will definitely eat it. Thank you very much for thinking that I’d prefer a chicken Caesar salad instead, okay?

  1. Who says ‘let’s get a cab,’ when you can easily walk.

Or says something like ‘Let’s walk it,’ when it actually does need to be a cab ride. An exceptionally long one.

  1. Has a ‘day for triceps’.
    How about having a day for your personality instead?
  1. Tags a photo with the hash tag #InstaGay

Maybe you should take a picture with the hash tag #IWillNotUseThisHashTagAnymore?

  1. Talks lyk dis 2 evry1 he knws.

Think about it this way, every time you misspell a word on purpose, Zara reduces their clearance sale by a day.

  1. Congratulates you on your work anniversary on LinkedIn.

Because the only people who are allowed to congratulate you on your work anniversary are your bosses, your parents and that lone person who you added three years ago in the hope that you would get a job at their firm. But you never did.

  1. Posts things that begin with ‘But you know that Donald Trump does have a point…’

Sigh. We all know that Donald Trump will never ever have a point, and so should you.

  1. Doesn’t proofread his tweets or Facebook posts.

There’s nothing more gut wrenching than a typo that stares you in your face at 2 am, just like a deep-rooted insecurity would.

  1. Thinks that a beer is validation enough to get into your pants.
    Try eight beers; two bottles of wine and a double set of jaeger bombs, you sweet summer child.
  1. Tags Instagram photos with #FeelingUgly when in fact, he looks like he’s just walked down the ramp for Calvin Klein.

Because real people have real problems – like how to get the toothpaste tube to squirt out that last bit of paste right at the end of the tube.

  1. Talks way too much about his ex.

He’s still not over him – it’s as simple as that. And you should get out of the picture, before he gets back under him.

  1. Hasn’t deleted his Google Plus profile yet.

If he hasn’t had time to delete his erstwhile profile from the dregs of the Internet, he’s obviously never going to have time for you.

  1. Doesn’t get the ‘Winter Is Coming’ reference.

Whatever happened to the good old nineties, back when geek culture was cool? Valar Morghulis, anyone?

  1. Loves telling you that he consumed only 1100 calories today.

Counting is appropriate only when it happens in math equations, pedometers and while splitting restaurant bills between groups of five or more – otherwise, it’s just plain unhealthy. In other news, I had 800 calories today, just for breakfast.

  1. Tells you he’ll never be ready for relationship.

He really, never will be. Trust me.

  1. Sends you regular naked selfies on Snapchat

Relax. He’s probably sending it to a dozen other boys just like you. And if he isn’t, why are you dating someone who sends you naked selfies everyday in the first place?

  1. Wears sunglasses indoors.

Like Larry David once famously said, ‘you know who wears sunglasses indoors? Blind people and douchebags.’

  1. Says things like ‘The only animals I like are the ones on my plate…’

‘Nuff said.

  1. Doesn’t know what ‘Netflix and Chill’ means.

Unless he’s meta, and all he actually wants to do is really just watch Netflix and just chill.

  1. Scorns at you for staying in the suburbs.

If the pin code is going to be a problem, so is the boy with the problem.

  1. Claims to be a vegan.

But occasionally eats ice cream on weekends. And the lone chicken burger every other month.

  1. Doesn’t know the difference between your and you’re.

Unless it’s Rachel Green from Friends – never give up an opportunity to go out with Jennifer Aniston, even if you are a raging homosexual.

 

So how many boys have been debunked yet?

 

Is Online Dating The Serial Killer Of Romance?

Viraf, a thirty-something brand manager loves plaid, soy lattes and expensive single malt. Like most quintessential gay men that I know, Viraf is on the lookout for ‘shake-me-by-my-shoulders’ love – the one that you find in dog-eared romance novels and primetime soaps. To further his cause for finding romance, Viraf goes out on a new date every week (while sleeping with twice the number of people in the same time) – and falls in love every month. It’s a tough life, but he survives (and so does his wallet).

Serial Killer

Continue reading Is Online Dating The Serial Killer Of Romance?

88 Thoughts You Have While On A Bad First Date

 

BAD DATE

First dates can be intimidating. What if you smile too much? Or talk about the ex too much? Or drink too much? As you flirt your way over aperitifs and appetizers, there could be a lot of questions that are racing through your mind – from the classic ‘does he like me?’ and ‘Who’s going to pay for this one?’ to the more practical ‘Should I go commando?’ and ‘Is that boil over his lip a cold sore?’

Point is, every date is different – from borderline psychotic to RomCom-level charming – and each one is a story by itself. Don’t know how to sort the good ones from the bad? If this were your train of thought while you were out with a potential Prince Charming, I’d say you board the first compartment and flee as far away as you can:

Continue reading 88 Thoughts You Have While On A Bad First Date

The Survivor’s Guide To Everything You See People Do On Grindr

 

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Airport romances. Proposals at the Eiffel Tower. Underdogs fighting it out against the odds. Triple chocolate fudge cake.

As people we’ve always loved our clichés, especially when we become one. So when it comes to our love (and sex) lives, it’s not a surprise to see the hackneyed habit-forming animals that we tend to be. Whether you are a first time rookie looking for your seven minutes in Heaven or a Tinder thespian who’s looking for a partner to adopt a dog with, here are twenty-five of the most likely things you will see on every dating app in the world:

Continue reading The Survivor’s Guide To Everything You See People Do On Grindr